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Image Oseola McCarty (1908 - 1999) was a local washerwoman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi who became the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) most famous benefactor.
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Tim Hortons 2019-08-17 at 12:19

Astonishing acts of charity have been made by Black people of humble means, such as washerwoman Osceola McCarty. McCarty drew global attention after it was announced in July 1995 that she had established a trust through which, at her death, a portion of her life’s savings would be left to the university to provide scholarships for deserving students in need of financial assistance. The amount was estimated at $150,000, a surprising amount given her menial occupation. As she had no money to pursue her education, McCarty dropped out of school. She was then taught to save money at a very young age by her mother. She opened her first savings account at First Mississippi National Bank, and over the years opened several other accounts at various area banks, including Trustmark National Bank, which she appointed trustee of her trust and executor of her estate. McCarty never owned a car; she walked everywhere she went, pushing a shopping cart nearly a mile to get groceries. She received many awards and honors recognizing her unselfish spirit including an honorary degree from the USM, an honorary doctorate from the Harvard, the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton, the nation’s second highest civilian award, the United Nations' Avicenna Medal for educational commitment. The tradition of giving back to the community is being continued by the most fortunate among African Americans, notably, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and others.
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